The information provided below is not legal advice and is intended for general information purposes only. For the most up to date information please see Work as a co-op student or intern on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Updated: March 23, 2021
A co-op work permit is a document issued by IRCC that is required in order to participate in any mandatory work component that is part of a program of study in Canada.
If your program has a paid or unpaid mandatory work component, then you will need to apply for and receive a separate co-op work permit before starting the work component (in addition to your required study permit).
A co-op work permit is separate from off-campus work eligibility that may be authorized by a study permit. A co-op work permit can only be used if work is part of your academic program and it is a requirement for you to graduate, not for any other kind of work. Work must be less than 50% of the total length of the full-time program and must be directly related to your program.
If your program’s work component is paid, then you would also need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
How to apply for a co-op work permit
If you are accepted into a full-time program with a mandatory work component then this will be indicated in your Letter of Acceptance, which you will need to include with your application. There is no application fee for a co-op work permit.
To help prepare for your application, review the IRCC – Guide 5580 – Applying for a Work Permit – Student Guide – online application.
With an initial study permit application
We strongly recommend for you to apply for a co-op work permit along with your initial study permit application, using your Letter of Acceptance.
With a study permit extension application
If you require a study permit extension prior to your mandatory work component, then you may apply for a co-op work permit along with your study permit extension application, using either a valid Letter of Acceptance (if yours has not expired yet) or an International Confirmation of Enrolment Letter.
At the port of entry
If you do not apply for your co-op work permit along with your study permit application, you may be able to request a co-op work permit from a CBSA officer at the port of entry. You would need to show the co-op wording in your BCIT Letter of Acceptance or International Confirmation of Enrolment Letter in addition to other required documents when you enter Canada.
For a co-op work permit on its own
If you enter Canada and have not yet obtained a co-op work permit, you may use your valid Letter of Acceptance from BCIT to apply for a co-op work permit directly to IRCC. If your Letter of Acceptance has already expired, you will need to request an International Confirmation of Enrolment letter to use instead. Please be aware that processing times are considerably longer if you apply from within Canada after you receive your study permit. Depending on when your program’s work component takes place, this might cause you to not be able to successfully complete your program.